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Crockam Found Guilty Of Murder In Lakewood Police Officer Slaying

Jahmell Crockam convicted of killing Christopher Matlosz after day of jury deliberations

Jahmell Crockam was found guilty Thursday in the murder of a Lakewood police officer who was among the first in Ocean County's history to die by gunfire.

Kelly Walsifer, fiancee of slain Lakewood police officer Christopher Matlosz, cried as the jury announced that Crockam was guilty of murder and weapons charges.

Crockam, showing little emotion, was then handcuffed and led out of Superior Court Judge Wendel E. Daniels' courtroom.

Crockam will be sentenced in Daniels' courtroom on March 22. The charges carry a sentence of mandatory life with no parole, said William J. Heisler, chief assistant Ocean County prosecutor.

The verdict came on the ninth day after the trial began, during which Crockam's lawyer put up little defense to combat the charges against him.

"It's a good day," Walsifer said in the courtyard of the Ocean County Justice Complex following the verdict. 

"That man," Walsifer said referring to Crockam, "ruined my life. Justice prevailed for Chris."

Walsifer said that the trial "was not an easy process" for her and members of Matlosz' family.

"It's been a difficult 13 months," she said. Though pleased with the verdict, she said that "it doesn't bring Chris back."

Defense attorney Mark Fury said outside the complex that he was "very confident" that his client received a fair trial.

"The jury has spoken and we have to respect that," he said. "Reasonable minds could have differed."

Fury said that an appeal may be possible but did not indicate if he or another attorney would pursue it.

Ocean County Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford issued a statement following the verdict, saying that Crockam was treated fairly and with dignity before and during the proceedings. 

"It represents in one sense the culmination of a system of justice that is unique in the world in which we live, established by the founders of the country in a constitution that is weighted at all steps in favor of the accused," she said.

Ford continues that Matlosz' family, including mother Jane Calao and brother Adam Matlosz, must now live with the loss of the 27-year-old officer who lived in Manchester.

"This process does little to bring closure to their pain," she said. "Tomorrow they will continue, like any other day, to confront their day feeling a terrible sense of loss."

Heisler said that the prosecution was "very grateful" that the witnesses stepped forward to testify in the trial. 

A statement issued by state senator Robert Singer (R-30), a Lakewood resident and propenent of reinstating the death penalty for certain offenses, said that Matlosz' murder "warrants a limited capital punishment system in New Jersey."

"We should be able to sentence the most-brazen and deadly murderers to the fullest extent humanly possible, as is done in other states," Singer said.

Jurors did not return a verdict in the murder trial Wednesday after spending an afternoon deliberating. 

The timeline of the events on the January 2011 day that Matlosz was gunned down — coupled with corroborating statements from multiple witnesses — was important to proving Crockam pulled the trigger, Heisler said. 

On that day, Crockam allegedly saw Matlosz in his vehicle on August Drive just before 4 p.m., shot the officer at about 4:06 p.m., and was placing calls looking for a ride out of town at 4:07 p.m., Heisler said.

In his closing argument, Fury said that while Crockam was in the neighborhood at the time of the shooting, that does not prove he is guilty.

"[The evidence] all boil down to one simple fact," Fury said. "He was in the neighborhood before the shooting. He left the neighborhood after."

mark February 16, 2012 at 10:40 PM
why was my comment deleted?
julie alterisio February 16, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Thank god that justice was served. God bless his family now with a Hugh hole in there hearts maybe they can move foward and remember all the goodtimes they shared with chris and he can rest in peace
CShorShell February 17, 2012 at 12:00 AM
This is my theory on punishment for convicted murderers..... If they truly don't want to die, then give them the death penalty. But, if they'd rather die than rot in jail, then give them life in an 8x8 cell.
J.JONES February 17, 2012 at 12:03 AM
Lakewood police should take him to the prison by driving through the pine barons nice dark dirt road...Who would care ..less $ for tax payers..We will still for this creep in jail...
lacey voter February 17, 2012 at 12:21 AM
Hey redonred..We had capital punishment until a few years ago..Thank your state senators and assenblymen for changing it..And this POS is grandfathered to life in prison,,Unless his appeals are fruitful
KAREN A KINCAID February 17, 2012 at 12:38 AM
RUMOR HAS IT... ( i don't know for sure ) but rumor has it the jails are full of cop haters and will applaud him..... NOW, i think the cops should start a rumor he's a child molester and then see what inmates do too him!!!
Maureen K. Mitchell February 17, 2012 at 12:49 AM
Convicted in NJ, prison in NJ. Probably the big one in Trenton. Let's hope someone does him in there!
Maureen K. Mitchell February 17, 2012 at 12:51 AM
I disagree. I saw it that the lawyer found little faith in his client being innocent. What grounds would there be for an appeal? Incompetent defense? Instructions to jurors? Jurors looking at newspapers?
JOHNNY Done it February 17, 2012 at 05:21 AM
You are so right..we need to replace the liberal law makers/lawyers .When its one of their relatives the law will be changed by next sundown...Bring back capital punishment .Make it so human life is more than 3 squares a day in a heated & cooled & with gym guarded hotel
JOHNNY Done it February 17, 2012 at 05:28 AM
Your right .They should pass the rumor his next trial for child molesting is coming up....
JOHNNY Done it February 17, 2012 at 05:29 AM
He should have ran to Texas forget the extradition try him & fry him there...
gene smith February 17, 2012 at 04:18 PM
For those of you who are "conflicted" about taking another human being's life (i.e. against the death penalty for certain offenses) ask yourselves this If you had been standing 10 feet away from this man, holding a gun, when he pulled out a gun and executed that Police officer, would you have been able to stop yourself from pulling the trigger of your gun if he immediately dropped his? I know what i would've done. Maybe i'm just from the old school but, an eye for an eye I say. He should be hanged, shot, stoned, electrocuted, ETC ETC ETC.. I think it's absolutely AMAZING that he was taken alive. that in itself should be enough for anyone who questions whether or not police get "special consideration" for things like benefits, an above average worker's salary (not in this state with our cost of living lol), etc. I honestly wish they would've have just gunned him down like he did to that officer. would've saved everyone that cares about him another year of uncertainty? Glad he's permanently removed from society, sad that he will be a "God" in state prison... society wake up... Raise your children better for goodness sake.
WhyohWhy February 17, 2012 at 04:41 PM
I say kill'em and let God sort it out ! Unfortunately this is true about how he will be a "hero" when he gets to the big house. They love Cop killers. My only hope is, every chance the guards get, they throw him a beating to remind him of what he did. You can't make him remorseful but you sure can make him beg for mercy !
paddler February 17, 2012 at 05:32 PM
nice back peddle john smith who said right above "i,m conflicted on how capitol punishment is not considered murder?". john smith why dont you explain your position against the death penalty for this slug to the family of that slain cop? its people like you who are the reason our tax dollars go towards paying for criminals to watch hbo then get a good workout at the gym.
Godmother Sue February 17, 2012 at 05:49 PM
I do not believe that banning of firearms will change anything. But I am not going to argue who is right or wrong. What matters is that this person is off the street. Maybe he will be a hero to some in prison, but not all. It really does not matter as long as he is off the streets for good. I do not agree with the death penalty for one reason only, if one innocent person is put to death, it is not doing what it's intention was meant for. Now if a person is 100% guilty and we know it for certain. That is a horse of a different color. One thing I do not agree on is that people that are guilty are given rights. That is so wrong. You kill someone, you get no rights. Just like the person that was killed, they now have nothing. My thoughts still remain with the family and fiance. How difficult to move on. I wish them all peace in their hearts.
KAREN A KINCAID February 17, 2012 at 06:50 PM
God mother, your right... some ppl are wrongly convicted... but in this case he was tried, convicted & admitted. Do you still believe our taxes should pay for that? Regardless, cop or civilian, the fact remains he killed a "man" for NO REASON. he "played" Judge , Jury and Executioner just by pulling out that gun!! WE (NJites) should have the right to "play" the same game. This is a case of "and eye for and eye"
KAREN A KINCAID February 17, 2012 at 06:58 PM
I have to agree with Paddler, 3 squares, weight room, dentists, Dr's, TV, & schooling!! Why not put teter totters and swing sets in while we're at it!! Geee here's and idea, how about we ship them over to IRAN, let's see what a real man does while he's getting his arse blown to bits while doing his job!! John, your not making any sense here!!
JOHNNY Done it February 17, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Also keep in mind it was an illegal gun..so gun control laws did not help.all it does make it difficult for a citizen to purchase one for your family or personal protection.Thank God he was caught & for the witnesses that came forward..and to his family & friends, fellow officers. May the healing process begin.
paddler February 17, 2012 at 07:30 PM
john smith my opinion is the same as everyone else on this thread . only a guy using the name "john smith" could be hypocritical enough to call someone using a nickname as a fake. if karma exists someday another character like this will be breaking into your home and then you can decide if you can "play God" or not by blowing him away. those two slugs who broke into that connecticut doctor's home sexually assaulted his two girls and wife and burned them to death in their beds both got the death penalty . i would gladly pull the lever on both of them since they were caught by cops leaving the burning home and their dna matched the two daughters. john smith you can wring your hands figuring out if they deserve the death penalty while struggling to figure out that your paranoia is causing you to think i have "pen names" but i have no problem dispatching them to hell.
KAREN A KINCAID February 17, 2012 at 10:39 PM
@John my suggestion was NOT to have him stand side by side, but to have his arse blown apart.......PERIOD!! As for paddler, not my concern what he does ( if he does it ) has nothing to do with the problem at hand. he's entitled to what ever statement he would like to make as you or I!!!
barbara February 17, 2012 at 10:43 PM
So agree Karen
barbara February 17, 2012 at 10:44 PM
guns don't kill people, person who pulls the trigger does. should we get rid of all knives also?
JOHNNY Done it February 18, 2012 at 12:15 AM
@ JOHN It is not the weapon its the animal behind it.,,If there was no guns There would be stabbings ,You ban knives , Then the axe will be used next .than ban that, If the law was stronger for having or using a weapon (tool) illegal Gun or knife, axe, it would be a start to deter these acts. but since we keep putting the same old lawmakers into office , This is not the #1 on there agenda,,(EG ,inlight of this trial the state assembly & governor will bicker about a gay marriage bill,,bring that up later & make the laws stronger to protect the people who protect us & the citizens...Remember he was wanted on anther murder just think if he was in jail ,this aweful shooting would have never happened
Opinionated February 18, 2012 at 05:03 AM
There seems to be some confusion as to why NJ had not used the death penalty in recent years. It was not the legislature, it was the judiciary. The Exteme, er I mean Supreme Court struck down one death penalty after another. The most ridiculous being the victim was stabbed 42 times in the chest. The reason for overturning the death penalty: the criminal had not intended to kill the victim. This is why I firmly believe every judge on every level should have to be elected by the people. The magic word is ACCOUNTABILITY. RIP Officer Matlosz.
JOHNNY Done it February 18, 2012 at 06:31 AM
I agree 100% replace the judges & the idiots who appointed them..Judges need term limitation & election by the people..going up to southern. tier NY...The town judges are elected...should be that way here ......
Godmother Sue February 18, 2012 at 02:35 PM
@Karen. If you re read my statement, I did say," Now if a person is 100% guilty and we know it for certain. That is a horse of a different color. " And in this case, we do. Since the death penalty will not be given in this case I would opt for life in prison, solitary confinement, with no chance of parole but that will not happen because he has rights. I say any person that executes,murders another, such as this"person"(not wanting to post what I feel) does not deserve rights. But I am only me.
KAREN A KINCAID February 18, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Then my apologies god mother, my intentions we're not to disrespect you. I misunderstood you.... no hard feelings :)
barbara February 18, 2012 at 04:30 PM
guess it was lucky for that 18 year old mom to save herself and her child when the intruder was breaking into her house and she saved herself and her child. Too bad that little baby who was thrown into the swamp by her daddy was not able to protect herself.
Godmother Sue February 18, 2012 at 07:16 PM
@Karen- Absolutely no hard feelings. I do not feel disrespected either. So no worries there. :) I live less than a mile form where Officer Matlosz was executed. I have very strong feelings on this case. If ever there is a reason for the death penalty this is it. It sickens me that this person will have rights and live. Any person that murders willingly, not self defense, should have no rights at all and that includes life.
barbara February 18, 2012 at 07:37 PM
i so agree, Godmother Sue.......

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